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Beverley Hughes: Clause 65 relates to the kind of routine checks that constables can make in accordance with part 7. In those circumstances, on a periodic basis, two days' notice would be given. Of course, if rapid action were needed for whatever reason, it would be possible to get a warrant from a justice of the peace. Clause 66, on search warrants and powers of entry in an emergency, would determine the ability of the police to act very quickly if they had reason to believe that security arrangements were failing. So the issues raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) and the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Malins) are covered.
Hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow, have asked about the person who will accompany the constable. We envisage that, in practice, constables will probably need to be accompanied by a scientist working in the field, rather than by the military. Hon. Members who obviously have great knowledge of such issues will know that there are several establishments that can provide people with the right expertise and experience to accompany constables in that way.
The hon. Member for Woking also asked about insurance. I will investigate that further, but as I have just said, we envisage that the people who accompany constables would already work in the field. However, I will certainly check whether those who are contracted to undertake such inspections with constables are covered by the insurance at their own place of work.
Mr. Gummer: I thank the Minister, but she has misunderstood my point. Although it is perfectly true that the provisions in the Bill are for one purpose and that other legislation is for another purpose, when the two purposes come together the same people and the same information will be involved. The provisions in this clause should not be a more onerous or less effective burden on those who have to carry them out.
The Minister saidI am sure that she meant itthat the powers of entry under this clause relate to routine checks. However, clause 66 contains a series of conditions and none of them specifically covers what would happen if an emergency arose and no notice could be given. Clause 66 gives a number of reasons why notice cannot be given, but the list is not exhaustive. It would be more helpful if it were made clear that clause 65 relates to normal activities and that in abnormal circumstances two days' notice would not be required. I hope that the Minister will consider that point, because she will see that clause 66 does not cover all the possible circumstances.
Amendment made: No. 33, in page 34, line 42, leave out subsection (5) and insert
'(5) Subsections (1) to (3) apply to Scotland with the substitution for references to the magistrates' court of references to the sheriff.
(5A) The appeal to the sheriff is by way of summary application.
(5B) A further appeal shall lie
(a) to the sheriff principal from the decision of the sheriff; and
(b) with the leave of the sheriff principal, to the Court of Session from the decision of the sheriff principal.'[Beverley Hughes.]
Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
I am a little concerned about the length of time for appeals. Appeals made under this clause will take place under the directions in clauses 62 and 63. Some of those directions could be very serious and might need to be acted upon very quickly. It baffles me why an appeal to a magistrates court can be delayed for as long as 28 days after the directions are given and then appeal can be made to the Crown court. With my judicial hat on, I am aware that a clever defendant can get his first appeal adjourned andto cut a long story shortby going to the Crown court, can ensure that it is as long as four months before an appeal is concluded. Is that satisfactory?
Beverley Hughes: The hon. Gentleman makes a valid point. I agree to look at the matter to see whether we need to strengthen the provision. If we give notices in such circumstances, we want them to be acted on.
Amendment made: No. 34, in page 35, line 15, leave out
'59 or 61 or Schedule 5'
and insert "58, 59 or 61".[Beverley Hughes.]
Clause 73, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendment made: No. 35, in page 35, line 19, at end insert
'"act of terrorism" has the same meaning as in the Terrorism Act 2000 (c.11);'.[Beverley Hughes.]
Clause 74, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendments made: No. 36, in page 36, line 7, leave out
'is capable of endangering life or causing'
'could be used in an act of terrorism to endanger life or cause'.
No. 37, in page 36, line 11, after "used", insert
'in an act of terrorism'.[Beverley Hughes.]
Clause 75, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Dalyell: The clause deals with Atomic Energy Authority special constables, and subsection (1) extends the places within which the Atomic Energy Authority constabulary has powers of constables to include any licensed nuclear sitesand not just those of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, British Nuclear Fuels and Urenco Ltd.
I wish to say a word about Urenco to my hon. Friends on the Front Bench. In the early 1980s, I tabled oral and written questions to the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, about the activities of a young research student, as he was then, at the university of Brussels. He had gone to Almelo Urenco in Holland and pinchedI think "pinched" is the right wordnot only important physics formulas but lists of where the parts and equipment for making nuclear devices could be obtained. The research student's name was Abdul Qadeer Khan and he was the "father" of the Pakistan bomb. To be fair to Margaret Thatcher, she took the issue extremely seriously and I went to see her. One can check that by examining the history of the 1980s.
The fact is that crimes relating to nuclear devices and the problems with which the clause deals are likely to be perpetrated by extremely skilled and often trusted people. Surely if we are to take the matter seriously, we should examine carefully the CVs of all who now work in nuclear installations. That is a tall order, but if security is to be maintained, there must be far more detailed examinations particularly of students from abroad. That is why I raise the question of Abdul Qadeer Khan and what happened previously
The Minister for Industry and Energy (Mr. Brian Wilson): I assure my hon. Friend that all aspects of security at nuclear installations are closely examined. He would not expect me to comment further but, on his wider point about Urenco, it is policed by the UKAEA constabulary and the enhanced powers of the constabulary will apply to such installations. Other than to note his comments, I cannot go beyond that tonight.